Making Connections to Build Your Business: A Learning and Networking Event for Women Entrepreneurs

On Nov. 2nd, a sold-out crowd met at Sisi Trattoria to enjoy dinner and networking under the direction of enthusiastic “people connector” Sandra Kahale of Onward Consulting. While no one knew what direction the evening would take, all were committed to make the most of the opportunity.

Wandering through the room, it was clear something different was going to take place. A number of the women wore labels with intriguing questions such as, “Ask me about a challenge and what I am doing about it ,” or, “Ask me about a success I’m celebrating,” on them. These questions begged to be asked, and it was clear the answers elevated the discourse far above the usual small talk.

Once everyone had arrived, the 50 women informally gathered around Sandra to find out what came next. She quickly put everyone to work in groups or two or three to answer more questions. Whether it was the joys (and laughter) of running an Alpaca farm, an upcoming business expansion, or people who had forged international careers before deciding to set up a business in the Town, everyone had something to share.

Sandra had to move the attendees along into new groups every 10 – 15 minutes which left many “wanting to know more” about the people they had met. Clearly, connections were being made.

Interestingly, the women could not offer their business cards during the event, which fundamentally changed the vibe that most women experience when attending a standard networking event.

After dinner, the attendees decided on a number of issues they wanted to discuss and after another hour of group interaction, the event was over, much to the disappointment of many. Sandra bid the group an enthusiastic farewell, followed by many requests from the attendees to hold another event in the near future.

Making Connections was based on a recommendation of The Blue Mountains’ Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) who had heard of a similar event being held in Collingwood. Tim Newton, Manager of the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre and a member of EDAC had been responsible for that event and offered to do the same for the Town, who enthusiastically jumped on board as a key sponsor.

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